Anytime I’m hosting a party or get-together, I always find it helpful to start with a theme. Since I find inspiration everywhere, my brain goes a little bit wacky when I start to plan. Having a theme or direction allows me to focus. It helps in choosing colors, flavors, foods, decor, cocktails, etc.
Given that it’s the summer, plus the fact that one of my favorite places in the world is the Caribbean, I thought I would throw a tiny tropical-inspired celebration. As you know, I’ve had the opportunity to work with Carnival Cruise Line over the past year. They have been so good to me and IBC. I felt that having a little party inspired by the Caribbean paradise and my time at sea couldn’t be more appropriate. After all, I’m constantly planning my next cruise in my brain so the two go hand-in-hand!
Hopefully this post will give you a few ideas for hosting a paradise-inspired party of your own.
On my last cruise, one of the ports of call was Aruba. As Aruba is known for its flamingos, I decided that I needed a few flamingos at my party. Palm trees were also a must. As you can see, my theme began to come together pretty quickly. Greens and pinks would be my colors; flamingos and palm trees would be my inspiration.
To get started with decor, I felt a homemade garland was in order. I wanted to keep things simple and easy so I decided to make a palm tree garland out of green card stock and pink string. It was a breeze to make and it turned out so perfect for the party.
Here’s how I made it.
You will need:
- palm tree template (free download here)
- green card stock
Begin by printing out the palm tree template onto a piece of green card stock. (A free download of the template can be downloaded here.)
Next, cut out the palm tree – I found that I was able to stack three pieces of paper together when cutting out the pattern which was a real time saver.
Then, using some tape (I opted for a pink washi tape.), tape the palm trees to the string. I went with a coordinating tape so that if my garland got turned around during the party, it would still look nice.
Finally, just hang it up.
Cute, right? Really inexpensive, quick, and adds a great pop of color.
Okay, let’s talk cocktails.
However, to make this cocktail fit in a bit better with the party, I decided to add a bit of interest and color to the garnish. I sliced up some fresh pineapple, added a slice to the side of the glass, and poked in a fun sunglasses pick.
It was the perfect touch to make these martinis extra cool. Cheers!
Now, no party of mine is complete without a sweet treat. After finding adorable flamingo picks I knew I needed some tropical cupcakes. And what’s more tropical than pineapple and coconut?
Thus these Pineapple Cupcakes with Coconut Icing were born.
I love this flavor combination so I’m pretty much obsessed with these cupcakes. I also got the idea to dip the frosted cupcakes into graham cracker crumbs to look like sand – the perfect resting place for my flamingos. Plus, the graham cracker crumbs added awesome crunch and flavor.
Want to know the best part? I used a box cake mix so the cupcakes were super simple to make. Let me walk you through it.
Pineapple Cupcakes with Coconut Icing
(makes about 24 cupcakes)
Here’s what you will need:
- 1 boxed cake mix
- 1 cup pineapple juice
- 1/4 cup melted butter
- 2 egg whites
- 1 whole egg
- 1 (8 ounce) can crushed pineapple with the liquid drained
- cupcake liners
- 1 (8 ounce) package of cream cheese, softened
- 1/2 cup butter, softened
- 3 tablespoons milk
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 4 cups powdered sugar
- 1 cup sweetened flaked coconut
- 1 cup graham crackers crumbs for garnish
- Begin by preheating your oven to 350 degrees F. Line 2 muffin tins with paper cupcake liners and set aside.
- Using an electric mixer, in a large bowl combine the cake mix, pineapple juice, melted butter, egg whites, egg, and crushed pineapple. Beat for about 2 minutes or until combined.
- Portion the batter into prepared muffin pans filling each cupcake liner about 3/4ths of the way full.
- Bake for 10-12 minutes or until a t